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NTU Sustainability in Enterprise

Notts Creatives: The Art Collective Made Up of Former Young Creative Award Winners on Their Social Action Project

26 May 21 words: Kelly Palfrey
illustrations: Isobelle Farrar

Art writer Kelly Palfrey catches up with Notts Creatives, the art collective made up of former finalists of the Young Creative Awards, to find out more about their Social Action Project, which aims to keep the city’s young people engaged in the arts...

Notts Creatives is a young people’s art collective in Nottingham made up of former finalists and winners of the Young Creatives Awards. The collective not only provides a space for its members to meet and collaborate, but crucially it was formed with the intention of completing a social action project, which aims to make the arts more accessible to the city’s young people. I caught up with the members of Notts Creatives to find out more about their current project, how they’ve adapted to the pandemic and what they gain from the collective…

What do you gain from participating in Notts Creatives?
We gain the chance to be part of a bigger funded project; to have the experience of working with others; managing a budget; networking with others in the creative industries; meeting like-minded people and making new friends.

How have Notts Creatives adapted to the challenging circumstances of the last year? 
Our meetings have continued on a fortnightly basis, but now take place online; we communicate through social media and other means rather than face-to-face. The direction of our social action project has had to adapt to the restrictions of social distancing. It has also inspired our project, which focuses on supporting young people’s mental health and wellbeing through creative activities.

Tell me a little bit about the social action project that you are currently working on...
We are producing 300 activity boxes that will be distributed to teenagers and young people across Nottingham through three local food banks. Each box will include a range of activities such as paint by numbers, an inspirational zine and animation and textiles projects. The activities within our boxes reflect the creative practices of our group such as graphic design, painting, illustration, photography, writing, animation and textiles.

You’ve said that the events of the last year inspired your project, how so?
We started with discussing our own challenges over the last year and then reached out to young people in Nottingham. We found that loneliness was a big issue and that COVID has had a negative impact on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. We wanted to create something that would support young people through this time.

We hope that young people will get the opportunity to try a creative activity that they have never tried before and that it will support their mental health and wellbeing

What do you hope will be the result of your Social Action Project? 
We hope that a lot of young people in Nottingham will be inspired by the creative activities, and realise the potential and variety of creative practices. We hope that young people will get the opportunity to try a creative activity that they have never tried before and that it will support their mental health and wellbeing, giving them a distraction from the lockdown. We also hope that it will create an online community and tackle issues of loneliness.

Why do you think it’s important for Notts Creatives to engage with the wider community and disadvantaged young people like this? 
It’s good for spreading the awareness for young people’s creativity in Nottingham. It encourages openness to the creative industries as young people can be shut off to it; we want young people of different ages and backgrounds to have the chance to be creative. We want to showcase that there are a lot of creative opportunities and experiences that could lead to creative careers; it could open doors for young people and give them a chance to try new things.

It’s clear that Notts Creatives is more than simply a space for young people interested in the arts to get together, it’s a socially aware and conscious group of young people seeking to make a difference to the city’s communities through the arts. While the pandemic may have prevented the group from meeting in person, it has inspired them to deliver a project that helps to tackle both loneliness and the lack of opportunities in the arts for Nottingham’s young people. Diversifying the arts begins with offering young people opportunities and Notts Creatives are doing just that.

You can look out for the activity boxes by Notts Creatives which will be distributed to three local food banks in May. 

To keep up to date with their project and future work follow them on Instagram:

@notts.creatives

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